Valerie T. Zrinsky told Scottish ghost stories dramatically, lived in a castle that her husband had built for her and was known for painting delicate images on eggshells and putting tiny, carved wooden figurines inside.
Her friends in the Scottish Society of the Gulf Coast said she was a descendant of poet Robert Burns, and proud of the fact. And she kept a box of Scottish soil.
At 87, she was very independent, living alone in her white brick home with curved porches and faux, castle-like towers, a mini-palace on the western edge of the Gulf Hills Resort north of Ocean Springs.
Her neighbors say she enjoyed working in her yard and enjoyed the company of her long-haired dachshund. Her husband died in the mid-1990s.
Small and articulate, with short, curly hair, dark and slightly graying, Zrinsky was a private woman.
Buddy Hudlow described Zrinsky as nice, very talented artist who designed crests and worked with children. She wore kilts when she went to the schools for Scottish Society programs. Hudlow believes she had illustrated a book.
Neighbor Jay Foster remembers seeing her working in the yard even when it was hot weather, so he deduced that she must have enjoyed the work.